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Intermittent fasting: what it is and how it works

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Intermittent fasting: what it is and how it works

by Paolo Lupo – nutritionist biologist

IS one of the most popular nutrition trends: there are many Italians who rely on intermittent fasting to lose weight and to improve your health and lifestyle. Traditionallyfasting is present in almost all culturesoften linked to moments of recollection and purification. For example during the Yom Kippur for religion Jewishbefore the Easter for the Christian religionduring the Ramadan in the Islamic religion, as well as in the “full moon day ”in Hinduism.

As the name suggests, intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern that alternates between fasting and eating phases and, unlike a real diet, it does not offer indications on what to eat, but on when to eat. This is how the most common patterns of intermittent fasting simply envision of do not eat foods that provide energy for 16 or even 24 hours, twice a week. Studies in which fasting has been applied to simple organisms, laboratory mice and more recently also on humans, carried out mainly by the team of Walter Longo, Professor of Biogerontology and Director of the Longevity Institute of the USC (University of Southern California) in Los Angeles, demonstrate how the risk factors for diseases related to advancing age can be reduced, counteracting aging itself and optimizing, consequently , longevity.

In fact, in the laboratory it was observed how mice subjected to controlled fasting were protected from oxidative stress. In addition, thanks a diet low in protein and sugar, it is possible to decrease the activities of responsible receptors acceleration of aging processes and consequently associated diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. It emerged then a link between proteins, sugars and aging. Finally, the guinea pigs fasted lived 36 to 83% longer than those powered normally.

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Intermittent fasting therefore aims to bring these same health benefits, first and foremost through the loss of weight and especially of abdominal fat, without having to limit calories. This happens through a reduction of theinsulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3-6% and levels of 20-31% fasting insulinthus providing protection against the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There was also a reduction in markers of inflammationa key factor in many chronic diseases.

Even in the face of these evidences, unfortunately intermittent fasting as such, however, is not for everyone. For some categories of people, like pregnant women, the elderly over seventy, frail people or competitive athletes intermittent fasting is a practice not recommended.

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